RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Friday, July 27

WEEKLY FRYBREAD: the itch of the workingman

Every day is a joyful struggle to find true chill in a world gone hyper, although sometimes it’s not much natural joy involved and an actual pain in the goddamned ass. But we do it, because it’s better than the alternative, which is giving up. I’m not allowed to do that, even as we are in the midst of the bombardment of public relations campaigns for Tweedle-D and Tweedle-R aka The Doe and the Ram, which would make any sane individual want to give up on hope. But The Doe and The Ram are not my spirit animals, so hahahaha, wait a second…
You have to forgive me. At the time of writing this, I just came in from my naked qigong in the field so I’m sort of wired on my shamanic wildman shit. But here is the real deal from the holy fields – I am born Workingman, southern by birth Raven by the grace of god. Born Workingman in the sense I know ladders and calluses and pawn shops and week-to-weeks and so on and so forth. And inside that born Workingman is the blood of the Viking and the fire spirit of the Dragon. I have sailed through the ice and I have sat idly amongst rocks carving characters into cliffs. These things are deeply embedded inside my family tree, deeper than the visible circles my conscious family even realizes. But on the surface of it all, I am a Workingman.
For the Southern American Earthly Workingman, life is just that – motherfucking work. The higher castes jerk the yoke chains, and we move left or move right as necessary to loosen the chokehold on our short life. All of the movements are not necessarily our heart’s wants and wishes come to expression, but simple acts of survival and self-preservation. There are those amongst you who consider your minds opened, and you will judge the jerky right or left motions of the Workingman, but you don’t always understand. You don’t always try to understand.
I’m not here to be that. Honestly I could give a fuck if you ever understood the Workingman at all, because then all that’d mean is you’d gentrify trailer parks and rural wastelands as quickly and happily as you gentrify the ghettos, and then we’d be as displaced as the rest. At least as stereotypical mountain goat people, you leave us to our dark corners, at times, to ferment in our own madness. And I don’t fault you for doing what you do. We all only know what we think we know, so I guess the key is to not think you know so much all the time. I try to do that, but am not perfect, which is obvious especially if you saw what I was born from, deeply fermented during my formative years in that rural madness.
Of course, that madness breeds philosophies that if they read these words, they’d be like, “Man, this is some bullshit. What the fuck is wrong with you, Raven?” But I’m not shooting words at them right now – I do that on my real foot path. I am shooting words at you because you are the one that is here to read whatever the fuck I am saying.
So what am I saying?
I don’t know yet. I might not never know it. But I’m going to scratch at it, and the forum for that is going to be Workingman Books. That might already be something, or it might not. Shit man, everything’s been thought of by now in this greatly clustered post-modern world, and I’m not really concerned with intellectual properties or copyright infringements or whatnot, mostly because that is not my world anyways. That is the world of those that jerk the yokes, not those like me that work the ground. But I am going to use Workingman Books as the format for the scratching at It, from here on. This will start in the next two weeks with some sort of football preview (called Football Metaphysics for the Enlightened Degenerate), and will expand from there with my first “philosophical” treatise, which sounds douchebaggy as hell, but I’m not sure at this point what else to call it. I will figure it out along the way.
Now let me be clear about this – it’s sort of a business plan but without any real business plan to it. I am going to be saying, “Hey, why don’t you give me $3 for this thing?” and you can do it or you can not do it. I certainly understand the thought that there’s a zillion words of free content available to you inside the internet. But I also understand there is a cartel of web habits behind that façade of freedom that you are paying for without realizing. I also realize that most all of us that would have enough internet access to be reading this easily spend $3 on a cup of coffee or bottle of soda waters or hunk of food that leaves us dissatisfied often enough that giving me $3 should not seem such a trifling burden upon your soul. And if it is, so be it. I can handle that. I do not give a fuck if you support me or not. I’d hope if you got here we are together in some line of thinking, so I hope you do, but I’m not gonna stress myself out over it. It will be here for you whether you want it or not.
My hope though is not to follow the American Dream lies of financial success through alternative means. Fuck financial success as a dream. I want freedom from the bullshit, and I have this strange suspicions that the carrot-key of wealth dangled in front of my face all the goddamned time may not necessarily unlock the gate the way I’m hoping. Thus, Workingman Books will start out as me, but I’m hoping to add people to what it is, and have it be more than one man, or one book, or one this or that. An important shift in thinking I try to stress to myself is if you are part of a “revolution” as a head of it, that head is easy to decapitate. And if it is not decapitated, and a “revolution” is successful, history has shown 100 times out of 100 that the revolting forces end up repeating the same corruption of power. It’s human nature, called self-preservation, and it’s deep enough in our DNA that even the purest of hearts can’t escape the eventual symptoms of it.
So I try to keep the focus on a headless, fluid entity. Sure the first few Workingman Books things will have one of my thousand aliases as the author, but the hope is it will bloom like bacteria into a group, and then if I disappear or die or whatever, the thing itself still exists. So it starts out by me, in the traditional sense, but it is for us, eventually, at least whoever ends up wanting that us to be.
I understand the shifting consciousness on a personal level very well, and understand self-preservation. And if we break down ownership and heritage, in the direct paternal sense, I have done a lot of shifting my own consciousness to persevere. My grandfather I share a first name with I never knew. I don’t even know what he did for a living, other than he was a Scout troop in both World War II and Korea, and he saw some things, and he drank heavily, and was a violently stubborn man. I was told – and I felt so proud of this at the time I found out years ago, and still am to be honest – that he would always wear brown work pants and a white t-shirt and sit on a stump in the yard drinking Black Label. Always. He also was given a furniture set by one of my grandmother’s siblings, who felt bad about my grandparents financial situation, and my grandfather said he didn’t want it. The sibling insisted, so my grandfather said, “It’s mine? To do what I want? And you won’t take it back?” and he then dragged it in the yard and set it on fire. There’s something very obviously metaphorical about that, and it’s definitely very McMillian of him. He died at age 46.
My father also lived hard on the self-medication tip. There was bad about him in our relationship, as his only son, but there was good as well. I’m not here for therapy so let’s just leave it at the man was an amazing Spirit Warrior and taught me psychic swordplay styles that no one else could have. He died at age 47, and has a chainsaw graphic etched onto his grave marker.
So my personal shifting of consciousness the past two years involved at least eliminating factory alcohol from my life, and again, this is not therapy, and I’m no teetotaler who gives a fuck what anyone else does. I did not find sobriety through Jesus, and do not quiver in fear if a cooler full of cold ones is at the end of the picnic table. But I had to shift the way I thought about a lot of things, and not to become some sort of lame ass bitch, but to persevere, and see myself making it past those mid-40s ages of my father and grandfather. Perhaps I’m sexist, but I feel the paternal blood in a man is strong, so you should respect it. But you should not be ruled by it, because then I wouldn’t be a very good theoretical metaphysicist, would I? And though they were both Workingmen, or at least drunkards, both my father and grandfather were theoretical metaphysicists. My grandfather found it in the Buddha in his Asian tours of duty, and my father was a raw visionary, uneducated psychonaut from the fertile nonsense of the early ‘70s, post-Woodstock. And yet they were both very severely small town Southern men, born to die tragically, like all good Southern men. It is our way.
So I do not deny that destiny, nor do I deny my Workingman nature, even my natural drunkard mind. It’s all in there. But I am not going to let it control me, and I am not going to channel it into someone else’s benefit by way of religious sidetracks or falling into that American Dream trap where I replace what’s missing with something else new and shiny and still missing It. I am after It, not stuff, and the reason the self-medication is so high amongst the wretched of the earth is that they are missing It, and the ways they are misled to think they achieve It – through financial reward for hard work – that doesn’t exist. So they try to side-step that false broken system with self-medication. I can’t blame anyone for that. I don’t regret my own times in that mode. But one of the root realities for every Workingman is that the self-medicated weekend, even if you call in sick on a Monday morning, it eventually has to come to an end, and you’ve got to sober up enough to get back to work. And if the promises of financial reward for hard work is all a sham pyramid con anyways, then ultimately you have to figure out what you are truly working for. And I am working for It – that great big unexplainable set of truths the world camouflages behind a thousand dazzling diversions. And all you can do is scratch at it, like a fucking prisoner with a stolen spoon, scraping at the concrete under the cover of darkness, hoping to one day find your way through the bullshit that entraps you. So I am going to start scratching, again, as a Workingman.
The Workingman concept itself was brainstormed into my mind by my boy Boogie Brown, who always called his self-released CDs Workingman Records, which apparently was something that existed, so he called it Wreck Chords. I have a t-shirt he gave me once that says “low budget music for low budget people” and that made sense, and is why it is on the sidebar of this site and has been since the beginning. It is low budget art for low budget people. Industries have been built from all the arts, and I actually read some article the other day where a writer was complaining about the e-publishing movement because he was having a hard time staying a professional writer in the capacity he’d known for two decades. He called what he did “a professional maker of culture,” which I thought was the most godawful, ridiculous bullshit to say ever. Writing, music, art, culture – it just is what it is, and is born from people doing what the fuck they were born to do. You do it, whether you want to or not, like breathing or fucking or fighting or eating when you’re hungry. So that is what Workingman Books will be. In all likelihood it’ll be ugly, funny, the greatest thing you’ve ever seen, and completely ridiculous bullshit, perhaps all within a single paragraph. But it’s gonna be scratching the whole time. And we can see together what we uncover. And if we don’t uncover a damn thing, then so be it; hopefully we will have a wild time in the process.
So you know, I actually bought the domain name too, because I knew if I wrote about it, some asshole who respected the legal entities of ownership more than actually doing anything would buy that shit up right away. Workingman.com already exists as some hopeless job site, and workingman.net, which is what I really wanted, is owned but not operated, and sitting there waiting for somebody to make an offer. Fuck making an offer. I don’t make offers, I scratch at the truth.
Oddly enough, workingmanbooks.com is already owned too, again not operated and just sitting there waiting for someone caught up in the notion of “I have to have this!” to make an offer. So I bought workingmanbooks.net, which in itself was a hassle because the domain registrar I’ve traditionally used has been bought by some other registrar, and they complicate it enough to squeeze additional payments out of whatever it is you build with the name you choose to attach to your scratching at It. Because they are stuck in the ownership mode, where people own their brand and own their name and will pay every extra dollar they can to protect it. Meanwhile, I don’t give a fuck.
I did actually prefer the .net suffix anyways, as I am thinking of this long-term as a means for whoever gets involved to self-publish whatever the fuck they come up with, as part of this collective, but keep their individual rights and ideas and not let bullshit business sense get in the way. Thus a .com or commercial site didn’t make me feel right. And though I guess .net is for internet or network or whatever, in my mind I can say to you it is Workingman Books dot Net, because we are trying to catch something real.
So there it is. I hope in the next few months you will support it with your input, perhaps your involvement. I hope you will support it by sharing the info or hollering at me at the myriad of methods in the sidebar, or just even if you at least roll your eyeballs over it and let it percolate and either laugh at something stupid or think on something angled funny or do whatever the fuck it is that would make you feel good with it, that’s good.
There’s a shit ton of strange things going on this day and age, and perhaps we are hyper-aware because of technology, and perhaps we are hyper-unaware because of technology. But I truly believe there is a major shifting of consciousness going on, perhaps underneath the surface, hopefully at the ground level, eventually with the obvious Workingman. Shit is changing. The old ways are broken and there’s no amount of psychic financial duct tape they can patch over it to prove it not broken. Shit is straight up broken, bro. And being they got all these ownership issues with everything, I’ve got no reason to try and put my mind to fixing it. Nor should you. Fuck gentrifying this system, because a fresh coat of pastel paint over the whole thing is not going to make it not broken, not busted, and ultimately worthless.
So come with me and let’s do this other thing. I make no promises. I’m just a dude, scratching at It like all the rest. I don’t pretend to know the answers. I do know this is what I do, and I could lump myself in with everyone else who is a writer with a site and a long con and a freelance hustle, but that ain’t me. I am a lifelong Workingman, born from the broke but not broken, infused with Viking blood and charged with T’ang Dragon spirit. I am one in a million, and yet there are millions like me. We are all It. We just don’t fucking know it, because we get stress exhausted by all this other crap, but we are It. We just need to keep scratching at It, to realize that shit.
Word the fuck up yall.

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